You can climb all the way up the food chain when it comes to beauty products. And while I love high-end options that perform, I don’t like wasting money just for luxe packaging and slick advertising. In fact, some of my favorite beauty items come from the drugstore.
Below are the best of the drugstore beauty bunch–all products that perform without breaking the bank.
Crest 3D Whitestrips
When teeth bleaching first arrived on the market, you had to go to a dentist, have a giant plastic contraption filled with a jelly-like bleaching agent stuck in your mouth and sit in front of a scary space age-looking blue light for an hour or so. And it cost several hundred dollars. Then the geniuses at Crest invented Whitestrips. These sticky little strips that you place over your teeth for an hour each day for several days have the same efficacy as most dental whitening options.
Yes, it takes longer than the one-hour visit to the dentist. You should use the strips for at least a week to get the best results. But at a fraction of the cost (Crest 3D Whitestrips retail at around $35), whiter teeth can be yours on a budget. And without any scary blue light.
SB Tip: If you get those annoying pings and zings from bleaching, use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth for a week before slapping on the Whitestrips to minimize the ouch.
Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer
Somewhere in the universe, there is a beauty hall of fame. Right up there in the mythical pantheon of beauty, alongside pricey potions and lotions, rests a bottle of Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer.
Basically a self-tanner for even the most inept beauty product acolyte, this is a no-fail glow getter. I start using it right after Valentine’s Day, and by the end of February, I’m fielding compliments on my glowy skin left and right.
You won’t see a huge difference until you have used the lotion for a few days. And even then, it is extremely subtle. But that is the magic of this product. This nearly cult beauty favorite works to give a natural, sun-kissed glow that doesn’t look sprayed on, and it rings in at around $8. Hall of fame-worthy, indeed!
L’Oreal Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain
Most makeup companies are kissing cousins in one way or another. Lancôme, one of my favorite department store brands, owns L’Oreal, one of my favorite drugstore brands. (See? They are all related in a makeup—instead of people—sort of fashion.)
With all of the beauty family tree business, it’s no wonder that I love this product. Color Caresse Wet Shine Stain is nearly identical to Lancôme’s La Laque Fever. Both are long-wearing lip gloss with intense pigment and shine. (I hesitate to even call these two products lip gloss because they give amazing color payoff, much like a lipstick.)
I’m fairly obsessed with Color Caresse in Eternally Nude, which on me is really more of a peachy gold. And I love the summer-perfect Pink Perseverance. At $9.99 each, I can indulge in both with not a smidge of guilt.
John Frieda Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Finishing Creme
In a perfect world, I could afford biweekly blowouts for perfect hair. Okay, not too perfect. Sort of beachy and French elegance in one fell swoop perfect. In lieu of unlimited blowouts (which I believe should be part of the lottery by the way, ensuring women would buy a ticket every week and hope against hope for the winning blowouts for life option), I use this product.
When I attempt to give myself a beachy meets French blowout, it always ends up slightly frizzy and janky. Before I found this silicone-infused cream, I would throw my hair in a ponytail and vow to never touch my blow-dryer again.
A pea-size dot rubbed between my hands and lightly smoothed on my hair gives me a piecey texture and tames the frizzy ends. Prices vary by store and market, but expect to pay around $5 for a four-ounce bottle.
Essie Nail Polish in Demure Vixen
Okay, I’m cheating a tiny bit here. Yes, Essie is sold in drugstores. But probably not any cheaper than your local upscale beauty boutique. So what makes this a great drugstore buy? The convenience factor. Have you ever noticed that there are literally more Walgreens around town than Baptist churches? We live in the Bible Belt, people–that is a huge deal!
Essie polish is the holy grail of understated, neutral nail colors that still attract attention. Pretty impressive, since the whole concept of understatement goes against attention grabbing.
I’m not too proud to admit I have dashed into Walgreens, grabbed several bottles of Essie polish along with a Vogue magazine and shoved all the love into a gift bag for many a birthday gift. Convenience. Demure Vixen is a cocoa/dirty pink/nude with just a touch of opalescence that can pick up whatever color you are wearing. Trust me. It is beautiful. And available virtually everywhere for around $9.